Toyota: Ridin’ High in April, Up Top in May
May in the Motor City was less like Spring and more like Summer.
And apparently across the country, conditions were Summer-like in May in regards to vehicle sales, because across the board OEMs announced some rather impressive numbers, perhaps no company more so than Toyota.
Compared to May 2011, the total change in volume of Toyota sales was up 87.3%. Almost seems like a typo. But within that number there are some impressive changes in terms of specific vehicles.
As in Yaris up 108.3% compared to May 11; Prius up 210.2%; Camry up 110.1%; RAV4 up 123.4%; Highlander up 102.6%; Land Cruiser up 142.4%; Tundra up 103.5%; Lexus CT up 241.2%; GS up 552.3%; LX up 172.5%.
In the competitive midsize segment, Honda sold 29,737 Accords, which is certainly a healthy number given that that model is going to be replaced this year; Chevy sold 29,579 Malibus, a mix between the old and the new; and Ford sold 26,857 Fusions, a car that is also going to be renewed later this year. All solid performances.
Toyota sold 39,571 Camrys.
How big is that number? Consider this: In May the GMC Division sales were up 19.3% compared to May 2011. The entire division sold a total of 38,877 vehicles. Or if you combine Buick Division May 2012 sales with those of Cadillac, the total is 28,436 (18,565 + 9,871). And realize that while Cadillac sales were down 15.1% compared with last May, Buick’s sales were up 19.2%. These are far from being weak competitors.
Alleged quality problems. The whole unreal unintended acceleration issue. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The floods in Thailand. The increased competitiveness of the entire automotive world. Seemed like Toyota was knocked from its perch and was going to stay displaced.
Seemingly, the people there haven’t forgotten that a tenant of the Toyota Production System is “continuous improvement.”
It’s the fifth generation of a vehicle that has been increasing in sales year after year since its introduction in 1997.
For conducting business in the U.S. market, Toyota has historically had several separate business entities: a sales and distribution company headquartered in California (Toyota Motor Sales, USA); manufacturing operations (Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America); a racing subsidiary (Toyota Racing Development, USA); the Toyota Technical Center for R&D in Ann Arbor; and a design facility in California (Calty Design Research, Inc.). On April 1, 2006, Toyota merged its R&D operations and its manufacturing operations into a single company.
What happens if that $2.29 a gallon goes up by a couple of bucks a year from now? How are the pickup, SUV and crossover sales going to be then?